Jonah Goldberg

The Terri Schiavo case wasn't purely a courtroom battle, but it certainly divided America along fascinating fault lines. The media desperately tried to portray it as a purely left-right conflict, but that analysis was too simplistic to account for the many splits on the right over the issue, or the presence of Ralph Nader and Jesse Jackson on the pro-life side.

Meanwhile, Michael Jackson can have no defenders on left or right. He doesn't fit any normal categories. Like Troy McLure, he's not gay. Unlike O.J. Simpson, he's not even black anymore. Who was it who said, Where else but America can a poor black boy grow up to be a rich white woman?

Indeed, even if you think the prosecution failed to make its case - which it may well have - it is almost impossible to be on Michael Jackson's side or on the side of those who've allowed him to live the disgusting lifestyle he has.

At minimum, Michael Jackson's handlers knew he had a reputation for abusing children. Before that, they knew he behaved in ways with children that sane, normal, people do not. They saw how he surrounded himself with a giant playroom used to entice boys into his bed. Jackson's staff crafted elaborate electronic warning systems other safeguards to ensure that Jackson was not caught doing anything with children by people who might turn against him. What sort of person installs an electronic warning system for an accused pederast? What sort of person sees that system every day - or even every now and then - and does nothing? What sorts of parents send their kids to a rumored sex offender's house on the thin rationalization that he was never technically convicted of wrongdoing?

The Michael Jackson story is an extremely exaggerated microcosm of Hollywood's moral climate. Hollywood is ruled by a class of people who believe that money solves problems and that the worst sin in the world is to judge another person's behavior. "Comedian" Bill Maher, for example, recently explained that he thought the charges were no big deal, even if true. After all, Jackson didn't rape anyone, he's merely accused of "servicing" young boys - and that's not nearly as bad as getting beaten up by schoolyard bullies. Wrong. In normal America, if kids beat up your kid, you demand a reckoning. If a middle-aged freak "services" your kid, you call a hearse.

Obviously, there are lots of people in the entertainment industry who are horrified by the allegations and behavior of Michael Jackson. But only in Hollywood could such a thing happen in the first place.

Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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